Lonzo Ball did Lonzo Ball things at the BattleZONE
CORONA, Calif — If you ask Chino Hills point guard Lonzo Ball what one of his goals is for his senior season, he’ll tell you he wants to average a triple double, an unthinkable feat in which he finished just shy of last season. If Wednesday night was any indication of what’s to come for the rest of 2015-16, the eldest Ball on the Huskies roster has every intention of achieving that goal while racking up wins. The Lonzo-led Chino Hills squad defeated a tough Eastvale Roosevelt side, 93-68, at the BattleZONE Tournament at Corona Centennial high school behind a video game-like 18 point, 17 rebound, 17 assist, four steal and four block performance from the soon-to-be UCLA Bruin. Despite the loss, Roosevelt (4-2) did something that few California teams will be able to do as it led Chino Hills (2-0), 22-20, after the first quarter. Mustangs shooting guard Jemarl Baker, who is becoming one of Southern California’s better off-guards in the class of 2017, opened the game with a remarkable first eight minutes in which he sank 6 of 7 3-pointers to help Roosevelt to its early two-point advantage. But as Baker began to cool off, Chino Hills started to heat up. Lonzo found class of 2017 brother and fellow UCLA-commit LiAngelo for a handful of 3-pointers in the second and then Zo closed the half with a one-handed bullet pass to Gelo for a layup, giving the Huskies a 42-31 lead over Roosevelt heading into the break. The Huskies outscored Roosevelt, 21-16, in the third quarter and 31-24 in the fourth to cap an impressive second half effort. Baker finished with 30 points, making 8 of 10 from 3-point range to lead all scorers. LiAngelo Ball led Chino Hills with 29 points, while junior swingman Elijzah Scott added 20 points and six rebounds. In other BattleZONE games: Foothills Christian 69, Corona Centennial 61 T.J. Leaf, the second best player in California behind future UCLA teammate Lonzo Ball, led the Knights with 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Leaf dazzled early with his ability to score in a variety of ways. He stepped out to the 3-point line and knocked down some treys, then utilized a ball fake to shed a defender closing out, drove baseline and finished with authority or savvy around the rim. The 6-foot-9 forward began the second half by putting on a passing display rivaled only by Mr. Lonzo Ball himself. Leaf found teammate after teammate for open looks. If it wasn’t Luis Salgado for a three it was Nikko Paranada from deep. Senior Omajae Smith was the beneficiary of many of those passes as he added 18 points for Foothills Christian (3-0).
Centennial (2-1) was paced by junior UCLA-commit Jalen Hill who finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. The Huskies struggled with the Foothills Christian pressure defense, resulting in turnovers during crucial parts of the fourth quarter.
Centennial was without senior center Ike Anigbogu down the stretch. The senior UCLA-signee fouled out with 2:36 left in the fourth. Riverside Poly 52, Temecula Great Oak 44 Hassan Berry paced Poly with 23 points; Jacob Tryon led Great Oak with 19 points and 12 rebounds.